Digital UK and Freeview have today announced that Panasonic will be the first manufacturer to launch TVs featuring the Freeview Play connected TV service.
Panasonic will make Freeview Play available in its new 2015 line-up of VIERA TVs. Channel 5’s Demand 5 service will also join the platform – completing the launch line-up of catch-up players alongside BBC iPlayer, the ITV Hub and 4oD.
Freeview Play combines catch-up TV, on-demand services and live television to make watching what you want, when you want as easy as possible. The service will be free from subscription and compatible with existing broadband services. Viewers will be able to search for programmes via a scroll back function in the TV guide or a dedicated apps page. This month Freeview announced a major rebrand in preparation for the launch of the new TV offer.
Ilse Howling, Managing Director, Connected TV at Digital UK, said: ‘It’s great news that Panasonic will be the first of many to bring TVs with Freeview Play to viewers. I’m also pleased that Demand 5 will be joining our line-up of great, free, on-demand players. Digital UK is working closely with manufacturers and broadcasters to develop our exciting new service and bring the benefits of connected TV to everyone, free from subscription.’
Guy North, Managing Director of Freeview, said: ‘We believe that Freeview Play will put viewers back in control and we’re delighted that Panasonic is our first TV launch partner. Freeview Play will be integrated into a number of TVs in the new VIERA range, giving people the freedom to choose across a range of price points. We look forward to welcoming more products from other partners later this year.’
Panasonic plan to offer Freeview Play recorders at a later date. Multi-brand manufacturer Vestel will follow with a range of Freeview Play products.
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 Freeview Play available on CX680, CX700, CR730, CX802 and CR852 series of TVs.
[2 ]Channel 4’s new digital brand All 4 will replace the 4oD brand on all platforms from the end of Q1 2015
About Digital UK: Digital UK is working in partnership with Freeview to develop Freeview Play. The company is leading on technical development of the new service, including product specification, the creation of a metadata service and a test regime for TVs and set-top boxes. The company also manages strategy, policy and service development for digital terrestrial television (DTT) in the UK and provides day-to-day technical management of the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). Digital UK is owned by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva.
About Freeview: Launched in 2002, Freeview is a subscription-free TV service providing over 60 TV channels, up to 12 HD channels and over 25 radio stations. The service is delivered through the aerial and is subscription-free.
Freeview is managed by DTV Services Ltd, a company owned and run by its five shareholders: BBC, Sky, Channel 4, ITV and Arqiva.